Until the coronavirus had its way with New York, you wouldn’t think anything could impede the political juggernaut of the presidential election campaign. But there’s something that can now.
New York canceled its Democratic presidential primary for 2020 on Monday, angering Bernie Sanders supporters who were hoping to win more delegates to influence their party’s platform.
To think Republicans and Conservatives, just a short time ago, were attacking Gov. Andrew Cuomo for allowing universal mail-in ballots for the June 23 primaries. You can add the Democratic party to the angry list. And that, as the police say, just about wraps this up.
Democrats who are up in arms over this can point fingers at their own.
The state’s Democratic election commissioners voted Monday to remove Sanders and nine other presidential candidates from the New York ballot, making use of a new measure in state law allowing them to do so if a candidate publicly suspends his or her campaign.
The move left former Vice President Joe Biden — the lone remaining Democrat actively seeking the Democratic nomination — as the only name on New York’s Democratic primary ballot, effectively setting up Trump versus Biden in November.
Political parties that feel they have been wronged often point to the state constitution to back up their argument. But on this one, there really is no doubt.
A proviso about voters in the constitution reads “...may be unable to appear personally at the polling place because of illness or physical disability.”
That clause was substantial enough for both Democratic commissioners, Doug Kellner, the former Democratic commissioner from Manhattan on the New York City Board of Elections, and former Westchester County Executive Andy Spano, to cancel the primary.
Kellner said holding the primary would have been “unnecessary and frivolous” in the age of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Sen. Sanders has not only announced that he’s suspending his campaign but he’s also announced a public endorsement of Joe Biden,” Kellner said. “That has effectively ended the real context for the primary election.”
Gaining a few delegates to help push a platform for a candidate no longer in the race is no excuse for putting the health of voters at risk.